Post-lockdown challenges demand better politics – The Yorkshire Post says

HOW TIMES change. Today marks the first anniversary of that dramatic day when the Queen’s lockdown address to the nation, vowing “we’ll meet again” and “we will succeed”, was soon followed by news that Boris Johnson was in hospital with Covid.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives thumbs up after receiving the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine administered by nurse and Clinical Pod Lead, Lily Harrington at Westminster Bridge Vaccination Centre at St Thomas' Hospital in London where he was treated for Covid.

Little did the country realise back then, as the PM fought for his life, that many of the restrictions would still be in place a year on – and that it would take a miracle of science to develop, and distribute, a pioneering vaccine.

It has been an extraordinary year like no other in post-war history and The Yorkshire Post is full of admiration for all those, whether key workers or people helping to look after the vulnerable in local communities, for their resolve. As such, this explains the national sense of anticipation as rules are eased and this has been self-evident across the region as families, and friends, are reunited outdoors – albeit outdoors and conforming to the so-called ‘rule of six’.

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But it is important that this discernible excitement does not mask some of the political, and societal, challenges in the coming years that will be as great a those that have confronted Mr Johnson over the past year or, for that matter, Sir Keir Starmer who became Labour leader a year ago.

Boris Johnson has faced a daunting year since Covid left him fighting for his life.

This includes a huge backlog of NHS operations and appointments, mounting unemployment in the face of the UK’s deepest recession in history and reports that 200,000 pupils will leave primary school this summer without being able to read properly as Sir Kevan Collins, the Government’s Education recovery commissioner, rebukes a complacent No 10.

These issues, and many more, won’t suddenly vanish. They’re here to stay. And, because they’re so fundamental to the nation’s future, they require far more than soundbites. They need far better politics, and policy-making, starting now, if the legacy of Covid is to be less damaging than the actual pandemic itself.

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It is a year since Sir Keir Starmer became Labour leader.